New Vulnerability Report shows community groups are responding to increased needs
The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) has released the first of an ongoing series of reports
that focus on the economic and social hardship faced by many New Zealanders. The reports are a mix of government data
and feedback from community based organisations – both NZCCSS member agencies and others.
“When an economic recession hits, the social consequences are real. Communities, families and people of all ages are
affected. People who may have already been vulnerable to poverty and hardship become even more so. New people join not
just the ranks of the unemployed, but become more vulnerable to other social consequences that have an impact on their
well-being,” says Karen Morrison-Hume, NZCCSS Executive Member. “The first Vulnerability Report includes examples of how
community organisations are responding. Feedback from a number of food banks and providers of emergency meals illustrate
there is unprecedented levels of demand”.
“We have accessed the latest data from government agencies on the growing numbers of benefit dependent adults and
children. Information that we requested from MSD via the Official Information Act shows that in March 2009 about 211,000
children were living in benefit dependent households”, says Trevor McGlinchey. “The escalating cost of food and energy
has had major financial impacts on ordinary New Zealanders. The extra strain of these impacts on families has resulted
in increased demand for a wide range of social services including family counselling, budgeting and crisis support”.
“NZCCSS member agencies and other social service and community groups are responding by increasing the level of services
they offer”, said Karen Morrison-Hume. “The strain is starting to tell as these groups can only do so much with their
resources. We hope that the Community Response Fund will help make a difference and we will carefully watch how this
fund is managed”.
Through the regular release of these Vulnerability Reports NZCCSS wants to highlight not only the current effects of the
recession on New Zealand families, but also focus on some of the long term inequities that have contributed to poverty
and social injustice within our society. Vulnerability Reports will only be published on-line with printable versions
downloadable from the www.justiceandcompassion.org.nz